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New COBRA Audit Guidelines

OnDemand Webinar (89 minutes)

Make sure you are prepared for a COBRA audit.

The Consolidated Ombibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) requires employers' group health plans provide certain employees and their family members the right to temporarily continue health coverage under the plan at group rates. This topic will help you comply with COBRA by understanding which of your employees are eligible for COBRA rights ('qualified beneficiaries'), when they become eligible for COBRA ('qualifying events') and what happens if an employee elects COBRA continuation coverage. Further, in March 2012, the IRS released a publication titled 'Audit Techniques and Tax Law to Examine COBRA Cases.' This publication signifies increased audit activity on COBRA compliance. This information will also help you identify and prepare for the areas of focus in an IRS COBRA audit. The topic will help you prepare for an IRS COBRA audit by explaining what you should be doing to comply with COBRA, how to respond to an auditor's document request, and what to expect if the auditor asks to interview you. This information is critical for employers to properly prepare for an IRS COBRA audit and avoid the significant penalties that may apply.


Matthew R. Zischke, Dykema Gossett PLLC


History of COBRA and Oversight Agencies

• Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985

- Purpose of COBRA

- Qualified Beneficiaries

- Qualifying Events

- COBRA Continuation Coverage

- Notices

- Payments and Premiums

• Internal Revenue Code and Internal Revenue Service

• Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

• Public Health Service Act

IRS Audit Techniques and Law to Examine COBRA Cases

• Initial IRS Screening of COBRA Cases

• IRS Examiner's Documentation Request

• Personnel Records

• Auditor's Interview

• IRS Penalties

- Liable Persons

- Maximum Penalty

- Minimum Penalty

- Special Rules

• IRS Correction

• Self-Reporting Requirement

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